Tuesday Seminar: Leah Pappas, Katherine Strong, Thomas Kettig

Speakers: Leah Pappas; Katherine Strong; Thomas Kettig
Date: 10/10 (Tues.), 12:00-1:15PM

Leah Pappas
Title: New Caledonia Preliminary Fieldwork
Abstract: New Caledonia is a French Overseas Territory and home to 28 Austronesian languages. Although many of these languages are dying as a result of French influence, the Kanak culture is still strong. This talk outlines the steps that must be taken by an outsider to be able to work with the Kanak people. It discusses the cultural and linguistic programs that exist in the province and the cultural practices that one must adhere to while making connections. Furthermore, this talk will share preliminary data on topological relations in four New Caledonian languages: Drehu, Cèmuhî, Paicî, and Nyelâyu.
Katherine Strong
Title: Serau Tet Kanowit: Language Documentation in Kampung Bedil
Abstract: This presentation reports on the preliminary stage of the Serau Tet Kanowit Documentation Project. Serau Kanowit, or the Kanowit language, is an endangered and under-described language spoken in Central Sarawak, Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. I will introduce the primary partners involved in the project, provide language and geographical background, and discuss concrete goals, outcomes, and next steps for the project. Further discussion will center around sociolinguistics and the multi-glossic environment in which serau Kanowit is spoken. To conclude, I will briefly share my experience with mental health while in the field, in an effort to shed light on the challenges many field linguists face.
Thomas Kettig
Title: The social evaluation of TRAP-backing in Montreal
Abstract: The backness of TRAP has been demonstrated to vary by speaker age and gender in many parts of the United States and Canada, including California (Kennedy & Grama 2012), Montreal (Kettig & Winter 2017), and Hawaiʻi (Drager et al. 2013). In each of these places, younger people and women lead in the ongoing retraction of TRAP from [æ] toward [a] (reduced F2). While work in California has indicated that TRAP-backing may be indexed with casual ‘Valley Girl’ and formal professional personae (D’Onofrio 2015), its social meanings in other locales remain little-investigated.
In this matched-guise experiment, L1 English speaking young adults from Montreal, Hawaiʻi, and California (1M, 1F per region) were recorded reading a sentence; vowel resynthesis in the word map produced a retracted and an unretracted guise from the same recording from each speaker, differing by 200 Hz in F2. Forty-six young adult L1 English participants in Montreal (11 male) completed a task rating speakers’ perceived physical and social attributes.
Bayesian linear hierarchical modeling indicates that female listeners judge retracted stimuli as more authoritative in women’s voices, while men judge male speakers’ unretracted guises as more authoritative. Overall, female unretracted and male retracted guises are rated as friendlier. Female listeners identify retracted male, but not female, guises as younger-sounding.
Though we are still in the initial stages of data analysis, we can identify some tentative initial results. While men’s shiftedness may be judged as reliably indicating age, women seem to associate TRAP-backing with authoritative, less-friendly characteristics in other women. In the course of a female-led sound shift, speakers – especially women – may be more attuned to women’s style shifting, and may diverge from men in their social evaluations.
D’Onofrio, A. 2015. Perceiving personae: Effects of social information on perceptions of TRAP-backing. UPenn Working Papers in Linguistics 21(2):31–39.
Drager, K, M. J. Kirtley, J. Grama & S. Simpson. 2013. Language variation and change in Hawai‘i English: KIT, DRESS, and TRAP. UPenn Working Papers in Linguistics 19(2):41–50.
 Kennedy, R & J. Grama. 2012. Chain shifting and centralization in California vowels: An acoustic analysis. American Speech 87(1):39–56.
Kettig, T. & B. Winter. 2017. Producing and perceiving the Canadian Vowel Shift: Evidence from a Montreal community. Language Variation & Change 29:79–100.

Graduate Student News (Fall 2016/Winter 2017)

Brad Rentz, along with Dr. Victoria Anderson, presented a poster at the 5th Joint Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and Acoustical Society of Japan entitled The Pohnpeian stop contrast between laminal alveolars and apical dentals involves differences in VOT and F2 locus equation intercepts. The poster and data can be viewed here.

Raina Heaton presented a paper at the Society for the Study of Indigenous Languages of the Americas (SSILA) Annual Meeting at LSA, entitled Towards a unified account of variability in Kaqchikel focus constructions.

Thomas Kettig presented his poster One hundred years of stability: The case of the BAD-LAD split at the LSA 2017 meeting. He also received a GSO grant of $700 for his trip to Spain last summer to present at the Sociolinguistic Symposium.

PhD students Dannii Yarbrough and Thomas Kettig at the 2017 LSA Annual Meeting.

PhD students Dannii Yarbrough and Thomas Kettig at the 2017 LSA Annual Meeting.

Alex Smith’s journal article Merap historical phonology in the context of a central Bornean linguistic area was accepted for publication in Oceanic Linguistics, and his article Sebop, Penan, and Kenyah internal linguistic subgrouping was published in the Borneo Research Bulletin. He also finished his fieldwork on 78 languages of Borneo during Fall 2016.

Victoria Chen’s paper When synthetic meets analytic: A note on structural borrowing in Kaxabu Pazeh was published in Oceanic Linguistics 55(2).

Victoria Chen’s paper Pivot ≠ Absolutive: Evidence from Formosan, was published in the Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Berkeley Linguistic Society.

Victoria Chen, along with Dr. Shin Fukuda, published their paper “Absolutive” marks agreement, not Case: Against the syntactic ergative analysis for Austronesian-type voice system in the Proceedings of the 46th Annual Meeting of the North East Linguistics Society.

Victoria Chen and Dr. Robert Blust‘s paper The pitfalls of negative evidence: ‘Ergative Austronesian’, ‘Nuclear Austronesian’ and their progeny is in press at Language & Linguistics.

Victoria Chen’s paper, Philippine-type “voice” affixes as A’-agreement markers: Evidence from causatives and ditransitives is in press in the Proceedings of the 23rd Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association.

Victoria Chen and Dr. Shin Fukuda’s published a paper Re-labeling “Ergative”: Evidence from Formosan is in press in the Proceedings of the 23rd Meeting of the Austronesian Formal Linguistics Association.

Ryan Henke and Dannii Yarbrough took part in the workshop “Building Capacity in Linguistics and Endangered Languages at Tribal Colleges and Universities”, which was put on by the Linguistic Society of America and the Endangered Language Fund. The workshop brought together linguistics faculty and students as well as students and faculty from TCUs to discuss how we can better use linguistics to help TCU programs with their language teaching and learning goals.

Photo provided courtesy of the LSA.

Photo provided courtesy of the LSA.

Meagan Dailey and Ryan Henke presented their poster Data citation, attribution, and employability at the 2017 LSA meeting. Their poster investigated how data citation and attribution relate to the job market and training of up-and-coming linguists. It can be viewed here.

Ryan Henke, Meagan Dailey, and Kavon Hooshiar presented their poster Questions, curiosities, and concerns: Talking points for data citation and attribution” at the 2017 LSA meeting. The poster is part of the larger effort to change the way linguists, university departments, and administrations approach data citation and attribution. It can be viewed here.

John Elliott presented a poster at the Acoustical Society of America annual meeting entitled For bilinguals, Enxet vowel spaces smaller than Spanish, which was a phonetic vowel analysis of Enxet, a Paraguayan language with a typologically rare small vowel system.

John Elliott was awarded a grant from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) for “The Enxet Documentation Project”, a video documentation project working with speakers of Enxet Sur, a threatened Enlhet-Enenlhet language of Paraguay.  The project focused on bushwalk videos as a means of eliciting stories about and descriptions of the uses of medicinal and food plants in the Enxet indigenous communities.

John Elliott and Russell Barlow attended a training session for the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme (ELDP) as part of their being awarded ELDP grants for documentation projects. The training focused on details of video and audio recording and the ever evolving best-practices in archiving, and was attended by researchers and endangered language community members working on documentation projects in almost every region of the globe.

Andrew Pick presented a poster titled Word boundaries attenuate the effects of emphasis in Lebanese Arabic at the Acoustical Society of America annual meeting.